We’re going fucking ✨ IN ✨ TER ✨ NA ✨ TION ✨ AL ✨ tonight so strap the fuck in and hold on to your goddamn cloth masks you sons of bitches.
Nah, I just made some goddamn soup. Sure, its got a fancy name with all those diacritical marks (what a colonial legacy of Portuguese and French oppression; I guess it’s better than making them all speak French with a Portuguese lexicography), but the cool part is that, in the end, you’ve got some killer fucking chicken soup.
(And, no, I’m not going to make some lame, probably offensive to multiple cultures joke about the pronunciation of phở. You’re going to have to get your juvenile rocks off somewhere else friends.)
This recipe was originally shared to me by a friend back in like 2012 if Google Docs is to be trusted, but I saw a version of this in this month’s Cooks Illustrated, and since it was supposed to be a cold and rainy day yesterday I figured I’d make it.
Only I made it tonight. Thursday.
See, what happened is that I was working yesterday and who gives a flying fuck? TL;DR: it was like four pm and I was on a call and realized that I needed a good two hours to make this, so instead we went to our quarantine buddy’s house and ate pizza and chicken wings and drank beer and I woke up this morning and set aside some time this morning to make the stock and so here we are.
Maybe instead of learning how to take better photos I should just get an editor or stop making these ridiculous run on sentence. If my kids ever read this blog they’d drag me hard. Jokes on them, they can’t even read thanks to the pandemic.
The Cooks Illustrated version and the version shared to me are super simple which means they’re both probably decent versions of something you could find in Vietnam, but like, I’m a fat white dude in Seattle so I’m not claiming any concept of authenticity; I just want some goddamn soup.
I’m planning on roasting some chicken later this week so I actually bought two whole chickens when I finally went to the store, knowing that I would raid the second one for parts so I could create a sticky, glossy, chicken-y broth. I used all four thighs, legs and wings, one whole breast, both backbones and the various nubbins and nibbens left over from cutting the chicken up. I put it in a pot, covered it with cold water, added an onion and a slab o’ ginger, salt & a tiny bit of sugar and set ‘er to the boil. After skimming some of the foam off, (who the fuck complains their fucking soup is cloudy? Is that goddamn chowder fucker Gordon Ramsey coming to dinner? Fuck that shit.) I added some coriander seeds, star anise, a cinnamon stick and black peppercorns and waited until the chicken parts came up to temp. Plus I live in Seattle. I’m allowed to be cloudy AF. Y’all go suck eggs who care.
I then took out the parts where I could pull off the meat, let it cool enough so I didn’t burn my fingerprints off, and then shredded it from the bone and skin and set it aside. I added the bones and skin and other parts left over back to the pot though, and set it over real low heat and went back to work.
Several hours later I strained the remaining bones, vege and spices out, stirred in a few tablespoons of fish sauce and put the broth back on the pot to wait while I soaked the rice noodles in cold water, and prepped bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, thinly sliced onions, lime and chilis. I briefly boiled the noodles until they were done (Cooks Illustrated says this takes only a minute, but they’re a bunch of goddamn liars, so like whatever, cook them until they’re edible), and then put them in the bowls atop the chicken, onions and scallions (oh shit I also sliced up some scallions but I’m too lazy to go back and edit that part so surprise!) and poured on the broth.
So, we’ve got chicken soup here, right? With some warming spices added. What is a kid not to love? Especially since this winter I took one of the kids to get phở bò (that’s the beefy kind) and they were all THIS THE FUCKING SHIT DAD CAN WE GET IT AGAIN! Well, guess fucking what? One of them had toast and yogurt and the other had a peanut butter and jelly and tried to talk me into making them a breakfast sandwich on Saturday morning with eggs, bacon, cheese, peanut butter and jelly. (Oh, yeah, by the way, I’m totally fucking making that and no they can’t fucking have any.)